Locals pack truck for Pakistan relief | AspenTimes.com

Locals pack truck for Pakistan relief

Emmy Lerma, Sallie Shatz and Christina Metrailer box up clothing for earthquake victims in Pakistan. The worked at Mountain Rescue Aspen's Main Street headquarters on Thursday. (Mark Fox/The Aspen Times)

As Aspen eagerly awaits the start of winter and skiing, the cold conditions so enjoyable here could prove deadly in earthquake-ravaged areas of Pakistan. So some locals are doing something about it.

The Oct. 8 quake killed more than 87,000 people and left about 3 million people homeless. Most of the deaths and damage were in the region of Kashmir controlled by Pakistan.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Thursday told The Associated Press that more people in the devastated region could die of cold and hunger.

After the quake, Sallie Shatz of Old Snowmass said she and a friend realized that relief was not materializing like it had after the tsunami in Southeast Asia and hurricanes in the United States. From that realization has sprouted a valleywide effort to collect winter clothes, sleeping bags, blankets and tents for quake victims.

She raised the relief idea at a meeting with the Aspen Skiing Co., which then e-mailed its employees. The idea took off from there, and drop-off sites at Colorado Rocky Mountain School and Mountain Rescue Aspen have been inundated with supplies, Shatz said. She’s a member of the rescue group and the American Alpine Club in Golden, where the donations will be packed up and shipped to New York City. From there, the goods will be delivered to Islamabad, Pakistan.

“I filled a 14-foot U-Haul truck with just the donations that had come to CRMS, and there was probably still another 20 boxes down [there],” she said. “It’s all been grassroots.”

Sport Obermeyer donated another $5,000 in supplies. This being Aspen, the donations included a mink coat.

In addition to the U-Haul, Shatz and others have already filled a 23-foot truck from Aspen Maintenance Supply, and she said she will likely fill two more vehicles of similar size.

She was set to stop collecting items Thursday, but she also expects supplies to keep coming in.

“I would love to get everything out in this one shipment we’re doing [today], but I have a feeling I’m going to be getting more people calling,” Shatz said. “People are coming out of the woodwork.”

For more information on the effort, call Shatz at 923-6797. She asked that Mountain Rescue Aspen not be contacted.

Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is chad@aspentimes.com

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